How COVID-19 Has Changed the Way We Approach Disabilities
It's no secret that regular life has changed because of COVID-19. All over the world, society has learned to adjust to the new normal brought about by the global pandemic. From vaccine passports to mask mandates and stay at home orders, we've had to fit our lives around the new reality of COVID.
There are populations for whom the effects of COVID are more far-reaching, however. Included among these populations are persons with a disability. Disability care has changed irrevocably because of the global pandemic. Below, we'll illustrate a few of the major adjustments persons with a disability and their caregivers have had to make.
Increased safety measures
Persons with a disability are often more susceptible to contracting COVID, or have underlying conditions that can exacerbate COVID's symptoms. This puts them at greater risk than other populations. To counteract this, caregivers and anyone living near or with a person with a disability have taken further steps to prevent the spread of the virus in the area.
This means increased sanitation, an increased access to proper care and other needs, as well as making use of safety alert devices. SymptomFind notes safety alert devices make monitoring and responding to the needs of the elderly and persons with a disability faster and more efficient. This has been especially important during a health crisis such as this pandemic.
Another thing that has changed is how enrichment and activities are undertaken for persons with a disability. Because of the greater risk of illness and even death, creative activities that families enjoy with persons with special needs or the elderly, such as those outlined in our article Spring Activities, have been adjusted.
This doesn't mean that these activities have disappeared completely— rather, these activities simply require greater caution on the part of the caregivers. That means avoiding crowds when outside of the home, and minimizing interaction with people outside the "bubble," at least for the time being.
Greater demand for more experienced caregivers
As disability care gets more challenging during the time of COVID, it becomes doubly important that the persons giving that care are capable and skilled. There's been a greater need for experienced caregivers who can maintain or even improve the quality of care a person with disability receives during the pandemic.
To meet this need, individual care providers have been upskilling to adapt to the new standards of care under the pandemic. Direct service providers are answering the call of duty by continuing their education year-round and attending any and all seminars to improve the standard of care.
More movement away from congregate care
A sobering realization brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic was that congregate care could often be a hotbed for superspreader events. During the early part of the pandemic in 2020, the New York Times reported that nursing homes were the site of a fifth of the U.S.'s COVID-related deaths at the time.
While the numbers have adjusted thanks to better understanding of the virus and increasing numbers of vaccinated staff, the pandemic exposed the flaws of institutional, congregate care. Because so much of COVID response requires isolation of patients, long-term care facilities have become virus hotspots.
By investing in more home and community-based services, it's possible to lessen the risks of outbreaks while improving the quality of care that persons with a disability receive.
At CARE, we believe that everyone deserves to have the best care and treatment possible. We tailor our care programs so that your loved ones can feel safe, supported, and healthy. Contact us if you would like to know more about our services.
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